Erich Henze passed away peacefully at Fairview Lodge in Whitby, Ont. on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019, with Harald and Mary-Anne Henze holding his hands, at the age of 94.
Erich was born on Dec. 9, 1924 to Paula and Herman Henze. His dad died when he was seven so Erich was raised by his mother in Huckeswagen, Germany. He was in World War II and on his return, he met the love of his life, Marianne. They married on Nov. 6, 1948.
They emigrated to Thunder Bay, Ont. in 1956. Then they moved to Atikokan, Ont. in 1959 and lived there for many, happy years until Marianne died in 2017.
Dad then moved to Whitby to be nearer to family and appropriate care in his final days.
He worked at Caland Ore as a machinist until it closed down, then worked in Fort Frances for 10 years at Boise Cascade as a machinist until her retired. His youngest sons still were in school so Dad commuted and worked in Fort Frances. He also set up a little machine shop in Atikokan that he could tinker in.
Erich was a proud man with integrity, honesty, diligence, humour, and perseverance. At 85, he was up on the roof shovelling the snow off; at 92, he still was out there cutting grass—and even able to ride a bicycle up Willow Road.
After he retired, he decided to take up the computer. That kept him happy, busy, and frustrated for 20 years—kind of a love/hate relationship. So Erich and Marianne would work in the basement together, him on his computer, her on her quilting. When they weren't doing that, they were out in their yard, keeping it immaculate.
He had an affinity for horses and Volkswagens, and Marianne's cooking. All five of his children learned to drive a Beetle and it was the Beetle that commuted with him for 10 years from Fort Frances to Atikokan. The thought of going out for supper was absurd to him as Marianne's cooking was so much better.
He was a strong family man and loved visiting with all the kids and grandkids. He always said how “lucky" he was and Marianne would punctuate it with, "No question about it.”
In the past year, he was particularly fascinated with his little grandson, Luke, coming to visit at the home. It was a great bond. Harald was the one that visited daily, and Erich frequently said he didn't know what he'd do without Harald this past year-and-a-half. He lost a lot of his memory but he never lost that.
All of his children and their families visited regularly. Erich made friends at Fairview Lodge and was a memorable client to the staff.
Erich is survived by his five children, Harald (Mary-Anne) Henze of Whitby, Heidi (William) Naturkach of Fort Frances/Phoenix, Az., Norman (Donna) Henze of Edmonton, Alta., Ian Henze of Fernie, B.C., and Dean (Karen) Henze of Sudbury, Ont.
He also is survived by his grandchildren, Erin Kenzie, Leigh Naturkach, Eric Henze, Megan Henze, Todd Henze, Rhiannon Henze, Jacklyn McKee, Brock Henze, Jason Sabet, and Madeline Sabet; seven great-grandchildren, Ty Kenzie, Hunter Kenzie, Ethan Henze, Audrey Henze, Luke Arnup, Lucas Sabet, Ava Sabet, and Denver Henze; sister-in-law, Ursula (Chris) Husfeldt; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Erich was predeceased by his parents; two brothers; a sister; his wife, Marianne; and a granddaughter, Kristy McKee.
Cremation has taken place as per his wishes. There will be a celebration of life with neighbours and friends in the spring when we can all get together in Atikokan for interring Dad with our Mom.
In memoriam donations may be made to your local Alzheimer's Society chapter.
Dad's reminder to family: “Mach die verdammte Tür zu.”